Report: Brady's agent expects him to play in 2018

An offseason full of speculation about whether Tom Brady will or won't play in 2018 may have just heard its most informed opinion on Monday.

And Patriots fans have to like what they hear.

Brady's agent, Don Yee, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he expects the Patriots quarterback to play this upcoming season.

"Tom's intentions have not changed," Yee told Schefter. "He's consistently said he'll play beyond this contract and into his mid-40s, or until he feels he isn't playing at a championship level. I understand the constant speculation, but this is one point he's been firm about."

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Brady's future has been a hot topic in New England since seemingly as soon as the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII in February.

Last week, ESPN reported that Brady did not give "official word" that he's planning to be with the Patriots. Brady, who turns 41 in August, was not present at the start of the offseason program last week; he has missed the offseason program twice before in his career.

"My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don't know," one source told ESPN at the time.

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Brady is signed through 2019 and is due $14 million each of the next two seasons. That ranks him around the middle of the pack for NFL starting quarterbacks right now, and well below what former backup Jimmy Garoppolo now makes in San Francisco.

Part of the motivation to deal Garoppolo, according to ESPN's Seth Wickersham, was a power struggle between Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. The spin was Brady did not want to be looking over his shoulder and felt he had earned the right to decide when to pull the plug on his career with the Patriots.

Related: See Brady and his coach through the years:

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There was also a reported struggle over the presence of Brady's personal trainer and nutritionist, Alex Guerrero, because of the shadow it cast over the Patriots' training staff. Guerrero had his Gillette Stadium office and seat on the team's plane to road games taken away.

New England acquired a second first-round pick for Thursday's draft in a deal that sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month, sparking speculation the Patriots could be primed to climb up for Brady's eventual replacement.

--Field Level Media